Can the biopharma industry learn from open source models like WordPress? As the industry looks to new ways to reduce the cost of R&D and reducing time to market, open methods of development and innovation can have a positive impact on the future of healthcare.
Making clinical information accessible and useful on the Internet is fundamental to clinical open innovation, and a well-planned API is essential in the equation.
Eli Lilly’s Tech Lead for the Lilly Clinical Open Innovation Team, David Crumbacher attended this year’s Open Source Convention (OSCON), held July 22-26 in Portland, Oregon. He shared his key takeaways (below) on Eli Lilly’s Blog.
1. APIs are the way to go.
During the conference, we saw several presentations that touted the benefits of offering an API. For the non-techies among us, the acronym stands for Application Programming Interface. Simply put, an API allows software to communicate with each other. A good API makes it easier to improve or create new applications by providing functionality and data.
2. Other industries are recognizing the relationship between open source and innovation.
It was great to see such a wide range of industries and domains represented at OSCON. You could find representatives from true open source organizations (i.e. no funding, no commercial backing) and from businesses that were built off of an open source infrastructure. There also seemed to be an increase in the presence of traditionally “closed” industries who are starting to encourage more involvement with their products through open source innovation. GM, for example, was there touting their new GM Developer Portal, which links up to the new version of its MyLinkinfotainment system. MyLink isn’t yet available in vehicles; we’ll first see it roll out in select 2014 models in the upcoming year. However, developers can start creating apps for the platform right now.
All in all it seems that companies across all industries are starting to invest in open innovation, perhaps due to having seen so many examples of the success it can bring.
3. How to create an innovative organization
Many people at this year’s OSCON were talking about how to create a culture of innovation in your organization–a topic that is near and dear to our hearts here at Lilly COI. Presentations that stood out to us were Alex Martelli’s “Good Enough is Good Enough,” Laura Thomson’s “Minumum Viable Bureaucracy, and Laszlo Szalvay’s “Creating Environments for Innovation to Flourish.” They touched on using an Agile Methodology, having overall goals of Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose, and what it means to foster innovation. These are all ideas and principles that we strive to incorporate into our work everyday. It was good to hear from these experts that we are on the right track, and also good to have them challenge our thinking even further.
Another good source of resource on this subject is Connie Wong’s Article “Open Source May be the Answer for Pharma and Biotech“